Approved by San Francisco voters in 1986, Proposition M established an annual cap on the amount of office space that’s allowed to be developed in the city.

While the annual allocation of 950,000 square feet can be banked in a down market, the current balance in the account which can be allocated to large projects is 1.6 million square feet, which is not only 700,000 fewer square feet than is required for projects which have already been approved by Planning, but 8 million feet less than would be needed to satisfy the requirements for projects in the development pipeline.

Arguing that the limits imposed by Proposition M could thwart or otherwise delay Lennar’s massive redevelopment of Hunters and Candlestick Point, a redevelopment which includes a plan for over 5 million square feet of research, development and office space, the paperwork for a proposed ballot measure that would remove Hunters Point and Candlestick from the boundaries of Proposition M was just been filed with the Department of Elections.

Hunters Point and Candlestick Plan

From the text of the proposed “Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point Jobs Stimulus Proposition”:

“This Initiative amends the provisions of Proposition M and the San Francisco Planning Code that regulate the pace of office development. It removes Hunters Point Shipyard Phase 2 and Candlestick Point from the area within which an allocation or project authorization allowing office development may be required.

This Initiative is intended to facilitate a rational development pace for this area, and to implement the voters’ desire to realize the revitalization contemplated in Proposition G.

To achieve these goals, this Initiative would also establish a policy that development applications shall be processed and decided quickly, and development expedited.”

And while the text also notes that the proposed “initiative would not affect the applicability of the office development controls enacted by Proposition M to other areas of the City,” don’t be surprised to see a number of other “stimulus” initiatives soon drafted if this measure succeeds.

The proponents of record for the initiative are Shamann Walton, Dr. Veronica Hunnicutt, and former District 10 Supervisor, Sophie Maxwell.

88 thoughts on “Initiative to Challenge Law Which Limits Development”
  1. I’d be all for it except I’m opposed to planning by ballot. “M” “K”, what disasters in the making from inception, and I remember being here when they were enacted. One generation putting a stranglehold on the Future. Should have sunsetted a decade ago at least.

    1. I agree, but voters need to undo past mistakes (Prop M). I never understood why lock in development at set rate for all eternity. It’s like locking in the price of milk at $1/gallon–never allowed to cost a penny more, ever!

    2. How exactly has Prop M been a disaster? Is San Francisco’s economy down the tubes because of it? Is downtown a ghost town? What has been the great harm caused by this measure?

      1. Can anyone afford office space anyone in SF? Even many tech companies and even big companies are being priced out of SF, or just deciding the cost is simply not worth it.

        Prop. M has been a disaster in that it has directly contributed to creating a hyperventilated market that long ago priced out non-profits and small businesses, and now prices out most companies period.

        No one is saying there should not be any regulation on office development (or any other type of development). But, the original Proposition M cap was just an arbitrary number, there was no real analysis that 850,000 of “large-space” and 100,000 of “small space” per year ensured a healthy and reasonably affordable office market. At the very least, during boom times, the allocation should adjust upward to put pressure on prices to help bring them down.

        [Editor’s Note: Demand for Office Space in San Francisco has Dropped while Office Rents in Oakland Hit an All-Time High.]

        1. Editor, I read that article, too. But, I do not think it really addresses my point. If market price for something is $1 trillion dollars and the price comes down to $999,999,999,999, then one could say there is a drop in demand, but it does not make the price reasonably affordable, and I do not see enough of a drop in demand in office space to see prices really coming down to where they should be.

          Moreover, part of why there has been a drop in demand is because the price for office space in SF is so astronomical. So, the prices come down from other-worldly to merely insane? That is not progress, nor a sign that we should not build more office space.

          Had an adjustable cap been in place, most likely prices would never have got as high as they have in the first place. There are not an infinite number of companies that want to locate in SF.

          1. ‘Adjustable cap’ sounds ripe for corruption.

            The first question to ask is in its current state how much more office space does SF need? Your goal of bringing prices down is fine, but there is reality. How will people get to work? SF unemployment is historically low and workers are being imported. Where will they live? What happens when they all flush their toilets into a 150 year old sewer system? What happens when you have a medical emergency and your ambulance is stuck in traffic?

            A hard cap is a blunt tool and obviously more complex models can be invoked. However, limiting overheated development is a noble goal. For one, as we all know neither residential or infrastructure are keeping up with hiring around here.

            Also residential development has no cap, how is that working? And what about the prevalent argument that construction costs here are so high (eg land) that prices will never fall low? In other words, the likes of nonprofits etc are mostly gone forever. Unless you are willing to deploy some non-market forces eg subsidies.

          2. And all these ills are the result of Downtown office space (which has been capped for decades)? I know that was the “thinking” when this bromide was sold to a willing electorate.

            Any arbitrary limits imposed at the ballot box will inevitably result in mischief. What is needed is good, professional planning and a vigilant citizenry. Resort to “answers” like M is defeatism.

          3. Backtotheburbs, Proposition M was passed because it was supposed to THE solution to many of the problems you reference–inadequate public transit, overtaxed and aging infrastructure, traffic congestion, and even affordable housing (combined with rent control and other city policies). So, to throw one of your questions right back at you–how is Proposition M working out in its current form?

            Proposition M was passed because San Francisco voters were convinced 30 years ago that the main source of the problems the city was experiencing was run-away office development. Well, after 30 years of some of the tightest development restrictions in the nation, combined with many other policies that were supposed protect and expand affordable housing, stabilize rents, provide a stable and adequate source of funding for public transit, etc, the results have been pretty poor.

            Despite all the ballot-box planning, “progressive” city ordinances, “transit first” policies (since the early 1970’s!), etc., San Francisco now finds itself the most expensive in the U.S. in which to live (and one of the most expensive places in the entire world). On top of that we have terrible traffic congestion, an aging infrastructure, and a host of others serious structural problems.

            Neither I, nor anyone else, is advocating that we throw out all regulations on development. Nor, am I opposed to any sort of cap on office development, but I think the current hard cap is far too low, and there is not any proof that I have seen that it has achieved any of the results it was intended to produce, aside from the general goal of limiting new office construction (but where all the wonderful benefits to the city this limited growth was supposed to deliver?). The one thing, which I think the Prop M cap has done beautifully is help to ensure that San Francisco has some of the highest commercial rents in the nation. I guess if you are a commercial landlord, especially a downtown/SOMA commerical landlord, then Prop. M has been wonderful gift.

          4. Your point that Prop M has led to very high office prices is accepted. It’s just not clear how that has harmed San Francisco. I think the argument that it has pushed out or hurt nonprofits is only partially valid – the nonprofit market for offices is, largely, a quite different one than would have been served by building new Class A space.

            Yes, some offices that would have located or stayed in SF have moved out as the cost/benefit balance has shifted. But, again, it’s not clear how the City is suffering from that. Would the City be better served by having more office towers? How?

          5. sorry not sorry: For nearly 25 years, tech companies and companies in other growing business sectors had not been occupying traditional Class A office space. In fact, it is a fairly recent phenomenon for these sort of tenants to have moved into the Financial District. Since the 1990’s tech and many other new companies have been competing for much of the same type of office space that would otherwise have gone to nonprofits and small businesses. Why? Because when limit the construction of Class A office space, then all but the largest and most deep-pocketed of the traditional occupants of Class A office space, move into Class B office space, which then forces the newer and smaller companies, which has been tech start-ups, etc. to move into either PDR space of Class C space that nonprofits would otherwise occupy, and also the nonprofits in Class B space find themselves priced out first to Class C space, then priced out of the city entirely.

            As you restrict each tier of development, those with the means buy up or lease out the next level and everyone else gets pushed out.

            So, yes, the City would be better served by having more officer towers to house large office tenants, so they could decamp from space that could otherwise be occupied by smaller companies, new start-up companies, and nonprofits.

            Nonprofits have been priced out of the city because companies that would have otherwise never considered the tier of space usually occupied by nonprofits (and small businesses) have found themselves priced out of the market for Class A (or even Class B) space, and so they end up displacing nonprofits and small businesses.

    1. Not necessarily. Why? there are plenty of people who would live in this new development who would love to be able to walk to work.

      what’s the problem with that? Mixing office and residential is very sound urban planning.

      1. Because there are 7 million people elsewhere in the region who won’t be able to easily reach office space in Hunters Point without a drive or transit transfers.

        1. Now that’s a very strange logic. So, because ALL 7m other citizens cannot reach a particular office space without (some having to drive), (which many call evil), that means those who live NEAR the office space should not ALSO be allowed to access it?

          Guess what? some people drive. some walk, some bike, some use transit.

          1. But for hunters point currently most would have to drive. Sounds like you haven’t taken the T.

        2. I went to take a tour of the new units at Hunters Shipyard a few weeks ago out of curiosity, since I’m in the market and was interested in what they’re doing. I am married to a transportation planner so we discussed this very issue extensively. They are actually going to have direct ferry service to the development and are also working on MUNI enhancements (possibly an offshoot of the T, but if not then definitely additional buses) AND they will have some measure of private shuttle service to connect to Balboa Park BART. They are definitely planning the development to not be totally car-dependent.

          1. All this is part of the plans for the area. Check out the SF planning site for details. I don’t think the commercial (retail) space and residential units would be attractive to develop with the current state of public transport for that area. It’s in the self interest of the developer to connect these parts with the rest of the city and they wouldn’t be doing the project if they thought it too difficult or costly to do.

          2. Please give an example of a private Bay Area development that directly resulted in new public transport links.

          3. It’s a fair question, but this is one of the largest new urban developments in the entire western US so I’m sure some of the access will be improved. In terms of most likely to come to fruition to least:

            There is an existing shuttle service for the residents who are already there. I think it’s more or less necessary because the only other non-car access to the area is down a long bus route that serves the projects — would probably scare a lot of potential buyers away. Given that part of the development will contain a large outdoor mall, I would expect the shuttle services to and from Balboa Park to increase over time, kind of like what you see in Emeryville. You’d be right to be skeptical they’d keep it up if this was an all-residential development, though.

            There will certainly be more MUNI bus routes as demand dictates. Like I said, I’m married to a transportation planner! The city is aware that there will be increased demand in the future, but there’s only a couple hundred new residents out there so far.

            The ferry service is a core part of the development–the entire thing is oriented around a central quay, so I think service to the ferry building is very likely to come to fruition as long as the development is built out. If we have another crash soon and it all sits on ice for another decade, who knows. Service to other locales they were talking about (Oakland, South Bay) may be somewhat less likely. Again, the presence of the mall will drive a lot of interest/traffic from all over the area, so as long as that part is built I think the ferry service is likely to happen.

            The least likely thing to come to fruition–though by no means impossible–would be a new leg of the T line to serve the development directly. Again, this is on the radar of the SFCTA, though there isn’t a concrete plan to do it yet. It would be relatively easy to build as new lines go, since they could take a lane from Evans in each direction (it’s excessively wide as-is). This is all within the realm of the possible but it wouldn’t come to fruition for a long time–at least a decade out, probably more–and it’s not a priority project at the moment.

        3. Then you might as well argue BART is already over capacity in its current state and we should block development around its stops until it can handle the prospective increase in ridership.

          Between Caltrain, Ferry Terminals, HSR (-__-) and thousands of planned residential units within the area I’m pretty sure there’s more advantage to building 1 million sf of commercial / office space in this area of Hunter’s Point than anywhere else on the peninsula.

      2. The vast majority of people that would work in new office space in BVHP would drive to work. For any major office complex around there, they would be very lucky to get 10% commute by walk. That’s just realistic. You talk about urban planning when you don’t seem to be able to see the obvious when it is right in front of you. And no there are not “plenty of people who would …”, at least not when plenty is measured on the scale of what it takes to staff millions sq of new office space, as proposed for BVHP. It would function for transportation more like a suburban office park as can be found to the south along 101 than like the next segment of the SF CBD urban core.

        1. And didn’t I just say ” some would drive, walk, bike, transit…”? You’re basing your opinion on the standard and somewhat tired mantra that “cars are evil”..bla bla.

          The rendering shown, while still a conceptual image, appears to show a LOT of low and midrise housing, scattered near high rise housing, some of which will contain office. And in truth, we cant tell from the rendering where the office space is and how much. But, factually, LOTS of people in this new, very park and open space friendly community, CAN AND WILL WALK TO WORK.

          That’s a core tenet of sound urban planning.

          1. You’re assuming, of course, that the salaries they make at jobs in this development (that are in walking distance) provide them the opportunity to live in this very park and open space friendly community. If not, hello 2-hour commute from Discovery Bay.

          2. I’m not assuming anything about salaries, nor do I care. Those who can afford it will want to live here creating a new dynamic community.

            Those who can’t wont.

          3. “But, factually, LOTS of people in this new, very park and open space friendly community, CAN AND WILL WALK TO WORK.”

            Care to back up your statement with any facts?

          4. No, I’m not opposed to cars, they have their place in the mix. I am opposed to people that use ALL CAPS and imprecise expressions instead of math. How many is LOTS? Is that how you spec your architectures?

            ~5 million sq ft of new office space can fit ~30k additional workers if they are working for hot startups, etc., and less if they need lab space, or are working for more traditional companies, etc.

            Regardless of how “friendly” the renderings appear, the companies that lease that space will employ people that choose to live in an area much bigger than walking distance. These offices will be ~10 minutes from two interstate highways, which currently transport ~300,000 workers every day right past BVHP. You really think that little puddle of new housing is going to matter much compared to the torrent rushing by.

            Sheesh, half the people that move into BVHP get on those hwys to get to work. That’s one of the big advantages of the location, at least compared to hoods further by car from the SV gravytrain like Excelsior or Sunset. Pull your head out of your neighborhood village VR goggles for a moment and you will see that most BV residents with a job now and in the future will drive to work outside of BV. It hasn’t been a walk-to-work urban planning dream since the shipyards closed leaving behind one of the worst toxic dumps in the bay area.

          5. Given what I just said 27 min ago, factually it will happen. Now what’s your point? And what’s your beef with this project?

          6. I would say about 13,753 will walk to work. plus or minus 5. If you don’t like this project, then say so.

            I do. And so , long term, it can develop into a new great, livable urban neighborhood to support and house and provide office/work space for ALL kinds of residents. That’s my belief.

          7. I haven’t objected to the project on this thread, I objected to your comment. A comment which is not made more credible by offering an estimate absurd both in magnitude (13k workers from 10k housing units all walking down the street to work) and in precision (to 5 significant figures). Sound urban planning requires more fidelity to facts than you’ve offered.

          8. Jake, I was actually just making up those numbers, just to satisfy you. I have no idea the actual numbers nor does it matter within the context of my statements.

          9. Yeah, looked like you had no idea, nice of you to confirm. I really do appreciate your gentlemanly manners even when vociferous. I think the ratio of office space to nearby workers does matter to your point, though.

            While there will surely be plenty of BV residents that WANT to walk to work, there will also surely not be many of them that WILL walk to work. This design as much as guarantees that and is not at all optimal to max the walk to work commute even given the existing conditions.

            By SF urban standards, this project will NOT afford LOTS or PLENTY of people to walk to work. That would be something like 20-30%. That’s what SF exceeds in the CBD and could achieve in Mission Bay, Showplace, and northern Mission.

            If maxing walk to work were an essential requirement for planning BVHP, then we would concentrate the office space along 3rd St (especially the core between Williams and Paul). That would allow the workers to walk to work from all compass directions and transit plus walk from north and south, more like how the office buildings concentrate near Market St downtown.

            Instead we are building housing along 3rd because that appeals to new residents that commute to MB and SF CBD, where the jobs are now. The actual planning optimizes those properties to sell now, not create some bucolic pedestrian village in some future after the developers/flippers have made a billion or so. Anyone with more than an elementary or shall we say pedestrian understanding of SF commute patterns and RE avarice should know that.

            BTW, if we did build a cluster of offices along a revitalized BV 3rd St, we could light it up with the very cheap and abundant Internet fiber that runs on the Caltrain ROW and 101 and makes 200 Paul one of the largest (and cheapest) data centers in SF. Cheapish office space, funky living space, and bandwidth were vital ingredients in the formula that made south beach boom circa 1996-8, back when Barry Bonds was still hitting non-steroidal homeruns at lonely Candlestick and the future pacbellpark was a pretty architectural rendering, kinda like the one above.

    2. This is on the T-line which will eventually reach Fisherman’s Wharf and North Beach through the Central Subway.

      1. This is not on the T-line. It would require a rail spur from the existing T-line or a bus connection. Please expand on “eventual reach” because there is no serious plan to extend the T past Chinatown. There are rumblings and the MTA is looking at the potential in a study, but that’s as far as it’s come. Christensen tried to sell the extension back in 2014 (and gathered a lot of public support in the process), but it looks like the MTA merely coughed up some money for a study to explore the possibility of an extension. Nothing formal. So, that being said, for the foreseeable future people will have to rely on a bus to/from the T line.

        1. Though I definitely support extending the Central to Fisherman’s Wharf ASAP, that would be of small consequence to this development.

          In spite what you read, the T actually provides pretty good service which will be much improved once it gets off the Embarcadero which, for some reason, takes forever to traverse.

    3. It is somewhat close to the Bayshore Caltrain station with a connection to the T. Also, Bayshore is quaduple tracked, so Caltrain adding more stops shouldn’t significantly affect the trains expressing through the station.

      There has been talk from Muni as well about adding a T spur to the development, though that’s not exactly as useful.

    4. HP is a stone’s throw away from the Bayshore Caltrain AND the to be rebuilt Oakdale Caltrain stations.

  2. Why has the planning department approved 700K more development than is allowed under Prop M?

    The 7.5 million for projects in the pipeline is a red herring IMO. How many years are these projects going to be built over? 10 years maybe? That is doable under M – 7.5 million feet can be built over the next 10 years.

    The other issue is SF can’t afford a huge increase in office development over a short period. The M cap allows a more controlled addition of office space. Without that an infrastructure nightmare could be in the works. It is anyway and allowing more development than is permitted under M would make it all the worse.

    What is the timeline for the HP project? 10, 15 years. Its 5 million feet of space will fit nicely in th existing cap.

    Good luck on getting SF voters to carve out any exceptions to M. IMO this is the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent scenario. An end-around to get rid of M. I expect huge opposition to the initiative and I will work actively to see that it is defeated.

      1. No. But speaking of Oakland this is very aprpos.

        If there is demand for 8 million square feet of office space in this area then M forces the excess (not buildable under M) to Oakland/East Bay. Areas better suited to handle major office development – especially in terms of transportation.

        1. When you mean “the excess” you mean “all business that can no longer afford to rent office space in SF,” correct? How do you feel about SF becoming an exclusively high-end office location?

          1. ‘becoming exclusivley high end’? Or has that ship sailed already a few years ago?

    1. What should happen, and what I think most SF voters would support would be an adjustable cap. During times the market has a real crunch for office space, a certain amount of additional office space should be allowed to be built–though still subject to all the impact fees, public concessions, and normal architectural regulations. This would be an absolute win for the city, and allow the cost of office space to come down–possibly even allowing smaller and medium sized companies to stay in the city.

      During boom years when prices are driven up, SF cannot afford NOT to have more office space–now even many tech companies cannot afford SF. So, the success of Prop. M is that it prices out non-profits, prices out small businesses, prices out locally grown businesses, and creates a market where only the biggest and most deep-pocketed companies can afford office space in SF? If that is the intent, fine, state it and rename Prop. M, “Deep Pockets Only Office Space Initiative.”

      I think the old rigid guard in SF is slowing dying off (thankfully), and now we have voters who if presented with an honest and reasonable proposal will consider it, rather than offering a knee-jerk rejection of anything that changes the status quo.

      1. Nonprofits and other non-market operations will never be able to compete for top dollar property, that is just the sad reality. There is record office space in pipeline, and who is it all pre leased to? Perhaps there could be some more development, but I’ll let you guess who the clients would have been in recent years.

        Nonprofits need to be targeted with subsidies, tax breaks, additional taxes on others etc. That is the only sustainable way. Otherwise we have another repeat in the next boom.

      2. I fear in the current atmosphere with all blame-gaming and finger-pointing that’s going (it’s all due to Tech and new comers, you know) M will prove inviolable.

        1. It will so prove but that ignores the issue – SF can’t absorb a huge amount of new office buildings. The transportation, infrastructure. There is a limit and IMO SF is approaching it in the next few decades. M is a much needed safety valve.

    2. When you say that SF “can’t afford” additional office space, do you know what “afford” means?

      The city is bursting at the seams, nonprofits and small businesses are being priced out because it is so expensive here. If anywhere in the USA can afford to build more office space, it’s SF

      1. The infrastructure can’t handle huge increases in office space.

        Beyond that the hi-rise zone is being built out. And its unlikely to see any expansion of it.

        SF is a small city – how many more workers can it realistically accommodate?

        1. Dave, many cities have started building business parks on the outskirts of the city. The reason is to reverse some of the rush hour traffic that flows into the city in the morning and out of it in the early evening.

          If you’re worried about the infrastructure, you should be cheering for these types of projects, as they have the potential to alleviate the stress on the existing infrastructure.

          Also, there is a Recently renovated Caltrain Station at Bayshore which is sitting basically unused in striking distances to Candlestick Park. There is no better location in SF to build sustainably than HPCS.

          1. Office space at HPCS doesn’t reverse commutes. Both directions on 101 by there are already near saturation and have been for years. 280 near there isn’t much better and both are getting worse in both directions. The additional transit riders for a caltrain station at BV would be in the few thousands, not the tens of thousands needed to fill the office space in Lennar’s plan. The only feasible way to aggregate most of these workers at HPCS is via the freeways.

            Whatever the merits of development at HPCS, sustainability isn’t one of them. It is a remote/isolated pair of peninsulas on a peninsula, largely built on landfill. It is a better match for park and rec, and relocating MUNI/taxi/schoolbus yards and other PDR from SoMa/Mission/Dogpatch and the area between 101 and 280 south of Cesar Chavez.

          2. 1) I have to disagree. At the Southern border of the city, Southbound traffic on the 101 is fluid in the mornings. The northbound 101 traffic slows down at the 101/280 intersection, not before. Candlestick could deviate some of the traffic from going into the city.

            2) Evening northbound 101 commuters would gain an option to do shopping/have dinner until evening rush hour dissipates.

            3) The whole project would make Bayview, Visitaciton Valley more attractive places to live and work. These are the easiest places to do large scale developments to provide housing supply.

            4) What is the alternative? More office space in the city center? More condos in the Mission? This would only increase the stress on the existing infrastructure.

          3. Not sure what “fluid” traffic means. On average, the traffic on the Bay Bridge during the commute peak travels at a speeds well below the speed limit in both directions. Does that make it fluid or not? FWIW, MTC defines “congested delay” on freeways as time spent in traffic moving at speeds of 35 miles per hour or less. Regardless, the key points are:

            1) there is no substantial “reverse commute” along 101 near BVHP, and
            2) there is no effective surplus road capacity along 101 in SF for commuters

            North of BVHP at 101/80 in SF and south of BVHP at 101/92 in San Mateo have among the worst congestion in the Bay Area, per MTC stats. Any car that originates or terminates at BVHP that passes through either of these segments during the commute makes a bad situation worse.

            It doesn’t matter much if you can hop on the freeway and speed up to the limit plus just to all the more quickly join the end of the queue at a usual bottleneck on your way to work. That just makes you an additional part of the problem, just like the car you are stuck behind in the queue. Hurry up and wait. It is how your entire path effects the fluid, not the just the end points.

            Most car commuters on 101 run into and contribute to a congestion bottleneck almost every day that they commute. Adding thousands of car commuters to the section of 101 between the notorious and enduring bottlenecks of 101/80 and 101/92 is sure to increase the total congestion. And that is certainly what this office park development will do, put more stress on the existing freeway infrastructure. Guaranteedee.

            The alternative to this suburban style is to build the office space in high density central locations feed by transit from the lower density residential areas. The new condos can be in BV or Schlage or Oakland or wherever has a ~30 minute mass transit feed into the urban office massif. A well-known scaleable solution, proven to work in many cities larger than SF, and entirely different from putting millions of sq ft of office space in a bag hung off a freeway.

          4. I wish they would dump the damn mall and office components altogether and concentrate on the residential which has the potential of being a terrific entire new SF district. I’m sure Lennar would respond, “Doesn’t pencil out!” but only because what they’re proposing is what they do. If we could just get back to building housing in this town in numbers this place offers the opportunity to create substantial units which would be truly affordable to the local relatively well-paid market. No need for subsidies or artificially depressed prices.

            Jake, though I can certainly appreciate your criticisms of Lennar’s proposal, I very much disagree with your suggestion of alternative uses by Rec Park and the kind of warehouse/industrial activities currently concentrated in that triangle below Cesar Chavez between 101 & 280. Those belong in that triangle and west of the Causeway in Burlingame, respectively.

            Though Candlestick Point may have been the worse possible place within the City & County (with the possible exception of the Farrallon Islands) to put a baseball park, it is still a fantastic property spectacularly situated.

            Funny you should mention that warehouse/industrial wasteland off Chavez. First time I saw it, I’m sure I winced. So much could be done with it right in the heart of the City. Extend Islais Creek westward to bring the Bay in to create a marine “lake” to center a surrounding park to be the focus of a new residential neighborhood. Even hemmed in by the freeways, with some sound acoustical engineering and use of vegetation, a very desirable living space could replace what is now a gaping wound in the body of SF.

          5. I wouldn’t get too wound up about a shopping mall that will never get built. Nobody wants to drive out to candlestick for less selection and higher prices than online. That’s left over from 1990’s era scribbles for the area when Amazon was still a startup and Willie Brown was getting drunk with Eddie D. As is the 49ers stadium that was still in the ‘plans’ used for the most recent transportation study for the project. Yeah, theses multi-billion $ projects work real hard to be au courant.

            Reality is they will build next whatever they think will sell next and SF and the hood will take what they are given, as long as the toxics get (almost) cleaned up and all the pc points are punched (affordable %, parking ratios, sound urbane plannifying,…). FWIW, the hood did get them to close the old power plants and not build a new one back in the 1990s. They aren’t powerless, just not as powerful as richer hoods.

            The warehouse district between 101 and 280 isn’t the wasteland. That’s along the waterfront where the old power plants and shipyards were. A literal waste land currently not remediated from pier 70 to HP, with superfund sites and even nuclear waste…And another reason to be very skeptical of building housing there.

            BTW, that’s not the only waterfront wasteland problem in SF. PG&E is being sued by fishermen for failure to clean up toxins left over from long ago even in ‘nice’ parts of town. google MGP, PG&E, Marina, herring…And checkout the article and map at namelink.

          6. I wish I could be so confident that damn mall “will never get built.” They’re fast at work on something out there.

            If you haven’t been lately, following the final removal of the old stadium debris, they built an 8 to 10-foot plateau which covers a good 75% of the Candlestick complex on which they’re now installing infrastructure. Apparently a mitigation measure in anticipation of sea level rising.

          7. The Candlestick mall plans have been cut way back over time. The current plan is only 500k sqft. The original 1997 proposal passed as Prop D was for 1.4 million sqft. 500k sqft is less than the sum of the chain retailers within a few blocks of Brannan and Division (where the Central Fwy merges with 101/80). It is half the size of Tanforan Mall and much smaller than either of the redevs proposed for the SF flower market at Brannan/6th and the tennis barge at Brannan/5th.

            All the new residents driven to the allure of D10 will need more retail anyway. Of course, it could grow in organically along the existing retail corridors of 3rd, San Bruno, and Bayshore, without the very visible hands of a few big investors determined to plunk it down at the end of a fwy offramp and fill it with their usual chain brand clients. But then, really, should any metro-American be more than a 10 minute drive from a shopping mall full of the same imported merchandise? This isn’t Nam…there are rules of sound (sub)urban planning.

            And if the mall does get built and fails, they could convert it into tennis courts with garage parking and a gas station. I hear those are popular and in declining supply in SF.

            There’s a freeway where we played football in the fields
            Apartments on the pitch at Highbury
            There’s a shed called Deer Creek
            Of which my one critique
            Is there’s no creek now and it’s all deer-free
            There’s a Walgreens where there was no wall, just greenery
            There’s a theme park in a palace in Tennessee
            That tree there is a pylon
            But some things you can rely on
            There’s a Starbucks where the Starbucks used to be
            –John Wesley Harding

          8. Still, I would prefer the idea of a destination retail center just be scrapped. Certainly, there should be a neighborhood-serving commercial corridor with an emphasis on food and entertainment.

        2. First off the recent earnings reports reinforce that brick and mortar is in a big decline. Shopping centers are no longer a draw.

          This project is crony capitalism at its best (worst) – do a google and see whom has connections with Lennar.

          If only this project, and more so TI, could get a do over.

  3. Can’t have it all SF! Either we build more office space, or non-profits, small businesses, etc. will be outbid by finance, tech and other industries who are willing to pay up to be in SF.

  4. That is just DOA.

    A Carve out of Prop M for Lennar, and every other developer screwed? You cannot be serious.

    Firstly, Prop M will not be amended by the voters, certainly not now. Secondly not for a single developer. Thirdly not for that one.

    Someones gotta be absolutely tone-deaf politically here.

  5. PS, every other developer and building owner who has a property built or acquired while prop M is in place will litigate this.

    Each of those properties has – say – $200 per sq foot of value that is derived from the “constraints on supply” in SF office production. Sue Hester and Calvin Welch created that value-tranche for the downtown-hi-rise owning class. Unintended consequences.

    60,000,000 s.f. x $200 psf = $12 BIL value.

    Yes, its will be rather-worth-it to fight this. Calvin and Sue, your enemies’ enemy will have your back on this one.

    1. Are you sure? If I was another developer, I think I’d be a huge supporter. It takes all of the H-P development out of the Prop M bucket. So that bucket would have room for other projects…which will be built by those other developers

  6. Again, this is the type of short-term thinking/planning City officials have done by constantly passing stupid laws and/or putting poorly thought out legislation on the ballot, and then making a huge political deal out of it. Let’s demonize anyone who think otherwise? Can anyone in SF properly lead anymore? Or are our supervisors merely thinking about their next job promotion or kickbacks?

  7. Prop M is perverse. When you don’t need office space, you can build it. When office space is filled up, you can’t.

  8. With sensible density and height design, the city can certainly afford to spread the wealth of commercial, residential and mixed-use developments within its 7×7 borders.

  9. You all know the voters passed this law, not the supes or mayor or planners, right?

    The supes and mayor are just afraid to touch it.

    No, of course it doesnt make rational sense. Why else only in SF.

  10. Has the hi-rise component been officially approved – as in are the sites pictured in the rendering up-zoned already?

    I hate to see the hi-rise zone extended here. Especially if the hi-rises are office and not residential.

    1. For God’s sake, Dave, you’re constantly citing Vancouver as an example for SF to emulate. This would be an excellent site to build an absolute thicket of high rise residential for moderately priced housing for younger and lower-paid (especially singles) workers to have a place in the City. And, of course, it would mean enhancing transit to Downtown for those working there which could be accomplished by an extension of the T-line and simply increasing capacity by upping the number/frequency of trains which the expanded fleet will allow beginning with the delivery of the new cars starting next year.

      1. My caveat was about housing. If the hi-rise component is for housing and if the BMR requirement is upped (only way younger folks and singles could afford these units) then build some taller structures. Just not a thicket of such.

        1. I disagree. I think the high rise residential component of that development should be vastly increased.

          If you truly want to produce large amounts of desirable lower cost housing, that is the place and manner to do so. And, I’m not talking BMR or “affordable”-by-design. This could be accomplished at prevailing market rates, yet even a modest studio apartment could have spectacular World class City, Bridge and Bay views. HP should be designed with young families in mind. Candlestick could be a great singles and young couples neighborhood. I realize it’s rather removed from the Mission/Valencia ground zero, but that’s for hipsters and the bridge-tunnel crowd anyway.

          This could be a self-contained place with all needs including entertainment built in. Almost a college campus atmosphere — in SF and with relatively easy access to jobs.

  11. Maybe we should make an initiative saying that all other initiatives, past and future, automatically expire after 10 years.

          1. Fifthed! It was a fifth of whiskey, so now I’m gonna go pass out on the sidewalk.

  12. let’s pass a law saying that if you’re not white, and not a landowner, and not in lock step with the Maoist red guard known as Trauss’s BARF, you cannot vote ever, and you can’t comment on websites. ONLY THE POLITICALLY CORRECT MAY VOTE


    Impose a strict cap on number of people who can come to SF every year. IN boom times, have a beauty contest just like for real estate deals.

    If your already here, you’re protected, just like real estate assets.

    Will probably create an after market for residential rights. Good in the culture of monetizing everything, and would give old timers a “buy-out” provision even if they’re renters.

    PS, this would probably pass a ballot measure by 70%, even though it would have robust constitutional challenges, so don’t laugh it off a pure sarcasm.

    1. We already have a “beauty contest” for who is allowed to move into SF and who isn’t. It’s called “intelligent landlords making sure they rent to applicants with great credit, jobs, and references”.

      Works pretty well – except a lot of new “residents” sneak through the process by setting up camp on the sidewalks with their pitbulls.

    2. Nice joke. And yes, it would immediately be overturned in court under the Privileges and Immunities Clause.

  14. This proposition is about 2 years too late and therefore is totally pointless.

    Once the tech layoffs hit full speed, maybe starting this fall, there will be a massive glut of office space.

    1. As it is Lennar is supposedly having trouble lining up potential tenants. Last I heard a large private academy is going to take a nice chunk of the space.

  15. why not just phrase development such as for every x sqft of office/industrial/commercial space, then y sqft of residential space must also be built. (as to the ratio of x and y, I’m not sure what that should be, but i’m guessing at least 1:2 and it probably varies depending on commercial use). The idea would be to provide housing near work, and thus obviate many of the reasons people complain about commercial development (increased load on roads, transit, emergency services, etc.).

    1. Great idea. I’d expand it to also pahse office development between SF and Oakland. With Oakland getting the lion’s share of new major projects.

      If only SF and Oakland were one city this would be a no-brainer. Oakland downtown is East downtown, SF is West downtown. Akin sort of to NYC. A single planning agency. If there were one, the lion’s share of new development would be shifted to Oakland right now. Given transportation/infrastructure issues.

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